Fans have been waiting for Battle Angel for years. James Cameron was developing the film, but the overwhelming success of Avatar shifted his attention to developing that film's multiple sequels instead. Cameron finally stepped back from the director's chair last year, allowing Robert Rodriguez to take over so that the movie might finally get some forward momentum.
Just last month, it was reported that the list of possible stars had been narrowed down to three names, Zendaya, Rosa Salazar, and It Follows star Maika Monroe. Now, one of those three has been chosen to play the cyborg protagonist Alita in the film: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials' Rosa Salazar.
Collider reports that Salazar was chosen over Monroe and Zendaya for the role of Alita in the movie. This will give Salazar a major starring role after playing notable characters in both The Scorch Trials and Insurgent. She has also received positive buzz from her appearance in season 2 of the FX comedy Man Seeking Woman.
Though Salazar's casting is the only major news to come from Battle Angel so far, it's likely that we'll hear more about it moving forward soon. Rodriguez was hand-picked by Cameron to take over as director on the film, and is rumored to be shooting from Cameron's completed script. Cameron is also actively involved with helping Rodriguez get the film off the ground, as one of the major reasons that Rodriguez was chosen was passion for the material. As Cameron put it when handing the director's chair over:
“Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he said he wanted to do Battle Angel. He’s very collaborative and we’re already like two kids building a go-kart, just having fun riffing creatively and technically. This project is near and dear to me, and there’s nobody I trust more than Robert, with his technical virtuosity and rebel style, to take over the directing reins. We’re looking forward to learning a lot from each other while we make a kick-ass epic.”
Given that other anime and manga properties such as Ghost in the Shell and Full Metal Alchemist are currently being adapted for the screen, Battle Angel should be in good company if it really does start moving forward soon. It's important to keep in mind that a single casting doesn't necessarily mean that the film is going to rush into production; actors sometimes stay attached to a project for years before it actually gets underway. Still, it's more movement than the project has seen in quite a while, and that's encouraging.
Battle Angel is currently in preproduction. No release date has been set, but Screen Rant will keep you updated as this changes.